Saint Theodore's Catholic Church

Rev. Walter Butor, OMI

P. O. Box 57

Ogema, MN 56569

(218) 983-3261(office)

(218) 983-3808 (office fax)

(218) 473-2005 (OMI res.)

(218) 473-2074 (home Fax)

Mass is on Saturdays at 4:00 PM

Breck Memorial Episcopal Church

28076 Breck Road

PO Box 141

Ponsford, Minnesota 56575

Worship Times

Sundays 9:00 AM (Easter thru Christmas Eve)

Sundays 10:00 AM (Christmas thru Palm Sunday)

Breck Memorial Episcopal Mission

The Episcopal Mission began in 1888 with the advent of Reverend J. A. Gilfillan, the renowned Episcopalian missionary of this religion. The same year he also started an Indian school in connection with his mission. The mission as well as the school was the first ever established among the Ottertail band of Pillagers.

The present church building was erected in 1892 in its present site today and is named after missionary, James Lloyd Breck.


Rev. Lisa White Smith, Supervising Priest
PO Box 7
Naytahwaush, MN  56566
Rectory: (218) 935-5704
Cell: (218) 340-6240

Rev. Carol (Coke) Smith
(218) 844-4215

Rev. Robert (Dub) Roy
(218) 204-0840

Bishop’s Committee:
Erma Vizenor, Senior Warden
Ed (Butch) Smith, Junior Warden
Anni Magoris, Clerk
Sandi Smith, Treasurer

Ojibwe Singers:
Charles (Punkin) Hanks (218) 983-4159
Ed (Butch) Smith (218) 841-8615
Sandi Smith (218) 255-1535


Although this religion has not been practiced for some time in our community, the Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society was created to protect tribal traditions from dying out and to spread new ideas to other tribes.

Membership in the Grand Medicine Society was determined by a vote held among the elder practitioners. The society was open to men and women who had achieved renown as healers and practitioners of the various “medicines.” According the records of the Midewiwin, which were recorded on birch bark scrolls, once an initiate is called before the membership, he or she must state their willingness to become a member. Invoking the strength of the bear spirit, a powerful healing element, the initiate takes the first degree. As a society member’s knowledge of healing practices and the complex rituals surrounding those practices grows, they achieve higher standing within the organization. The various degrees are represented by a variety of designs painted onto the society member’s face—this symbolizes the status of the individual within the group.

The Midewiwin flourished within the Ojibwe communities of the Great Lakes region during the early eighteenth century. Although no exact date has been accurately determined, records indicate a lose organization of medical practitioners operating within Ojibwe communities as early as the mid-1600s. Regardless of the chronological origins of the organization, the Midewiwin was organized to share and protect the sum total of medicinal knowledge between the tribes. Some contemporary historians have mistakenly likened the group to a religious society, or cult. While the members venerated healing spirits (referred to as Mide Manidoog) the Midewiwin was not a solely religious organization. Eventually, other Great Lakes tribes became members of the Grand Medicine Society. The Potawatomi and Ottawa tribes, who once occupied the same region as the Ojibwe and were believed to be an extension of that tribal group, entered the society. Throughout the displacement of the tribes and the interaction with Europeans, the Grand Medicine Society worked to protect the sacred traditions of the Great Lakes region. Though not as influential as it once was, the Midewiwin is still in existence today in some areas.

(Ponsfordian 1930)